14th International Congress of Phonetic Sciences (ICPhS-14)

San Francisco, CA, USA
August 1-7, 1999


The Effect of L1 Use on Foreign Accent Ratings in Quichua-Spanish Bilinguals

Susan G. Guion (1), James E. Flege (1), Jonathan D. Loftin (2)

(1) The University of Alabama at Birmingham, USA
(2) University of Texas at Austin, TX, USA

This study assessed the hypothesis that degree of L1 activation influences L2 production accuracy by examining bilinguals who used their L1 on a regular basis in a bilingual setting: Otavalo, Ecuador. Thirty native Quichua speakers who had begun to learn Spanish between the ages of 6-8 years were recruited to form three groups differing in self-reported L1 use. The three groups repeated five aurally presented Spanish sentences. Native Spanish listeners rated the blocked, randomly presented Spanish sentences for degree of Quichua accent. The High L1 Use group had stronger Quichua accents than the Low L1 Use group. The more the Quichua subjects used their L1, the less Spanish-like their sentences were judged to be. This finding supports the proposal that the amount of L1 use influences production in the L2, indicating that factors other than neurological maturation influence the success of L2 learning.

Full Paper

Bibliographic reference.  Guion, Susan G. / Flege, James E. / Loftin, Jonathan D. (1999): "The effect of L1 use on foreign accent ratings in Quichua-Spanish bilinguals", In ICPhS-14, 1471-1474.